Jun 21, 2019
In June 2009, the Government of Canada declared the month of June National Indigenous Month; prior to that, June 21 was designated as National Indigenous Peoples Day. Both provide an opportunity to reflect on the deep history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) has taken June as an opportunity to highlight Indigenous Peoples of the Building Trades and recommit to building bridges and breaking down barriers.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Report serves to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation through calls to action to bring together all Canadians for the collective good. Everyone has a role to play, and for our 15 International Unions that role has been to ensure that Indigenous peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, sustainable skilled trades careers and long-term benefits from economic development,” said Arlene Dunn, Director, CBTU.
“Not unlike other industries, the number of Indigenous peoples participating in construction are not reflective of the greater population,” continued Dunn. “We are working collaboratively with Indigenous peoples, government and industry stakeholders to change that. Our leadership, through our Local Unions and training centres, work to advance reconciliation by engaging in meaningful relationships that are focused on consultation and respect. In our labour agreements we support, advocate and negotiate employment equity plans for Indigenous workers which serve to create value at a strategic level – eliminating barriers and discriminatory hiring practices. Our Build Together program has launched the first Chapter of Indigenous Peoples of the Building Trades in Saskatchewan with a goal to get more Indigenous youth into apprenticeships.”
This year, Canada has joined with other nations to mark UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages to highlight the challenges facing the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages before they are lost. The GOC introduced Bill C-91An Act Respecting Indigenous Languages, to reappropriate, revitalize, preserve and strengthen First Nations, Métis and Inuit languages. This is a historic milestone and a step toward healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“I encourage all to become familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Report, check out the Build Together websiteand consider ways we can support the calls to action to build a better Canada,” stated Dunn.